The Statute of Anne…Authors Get Rights!

Today in History, April 10, 1710:

The Statute of Anne. The English Parliament passes the first statute awarding authors rights of copy.

Prior to this act, what little rights or restrictions on copying books and other works that existed in England protected the Stationer’s Company, and was enforced by the company.

With the Statute of Anne, the government enforced the rules, and gave the original author rights to copy their work for 14 years, after which they could obtain another 14. After the 28 years lapsed, the work defaulted to the public domain.

Much as we have seen with internet hijacking of artist’s work today, author’s work was being reproduced in poor or changed quality, taking away creative incentive. The Statute of Anne was revolutionary in publishing.

Other nations followed suit in the coming years (America in 1790). In 1886 the Berne Convention in Switzerland led to an agreement among several nations to recognize each other’s copyrights. The US would not join until 1986 (according to Britannica.)

Climate Change – Tambora

Today in History, April 10: 1815 – The Mt. Tambora volcano eruption of 1815 spews between 19 and 38 cubic miles of “ejecta” material into the atmosphere over a three month period beginning today. The explosion was heard 1,200 miles away (if it had occurred in Las Vegas, we in Tulsa would have heard it). Approximately 72,000 people died as a resort, the majority from starvation and disease as the climate was changed world wide. Crops failed all across the Northern Hemisphere and there was no real summer that year. Tambora was the largest eruption in recorded history.